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EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY: THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN DANCE TEACHING AND LEARNING


Dance classes at Danscentre, Aberdeen, focus on the physical swell as the mental capacity of the student.

This year, the only certainty has been uncertainty. COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities within ourselves, our businesses and our industry, creating some very real and significant concerns for the future. Although hugely unwelcome, the pandemic has provided us with a unique awakening in all areas of our lives. It has also revealed some deep truths and exposed how we respond to change. Uncertainty is a natural and an unavoidable part of life and in fact very little about our lives is constant. However, we often refuse to acknowledge or act upon the inconsistencies. Taking away what is familiar challenges our thinking and can force us to consider different perspectives and reconnect to our priorities and goals.



REFLECT AND REVIEW

Dance classes at Danscentre, Aberdeen, give attention to the development of the mind and the body

For dance teachers, the current situation reminds us of some core values: why we teach and why our students want to dance. Now is therefore an ideal opportunity for us to reflect, evaluate and review our goals and practices to ensure we are true to our values.


We need to determine how best to equip our students with skills that will not only maintain drive and passion but allow them to accelerate their learning, despite the challenges that lie ahead.


Dance training is already overdue a serious review: especially in relation to learning from a psychological perspective. Our profession has been slow in acknowledging research from sport science and educational psychology. This has resulted in many teachers lacking the essential tools that would enable them and their students to not only manage change but instigate it. Tools such as how to develop resilience, autonomy and harnessing the power of the mind can make a significant impact on learning and performance.


Teachers must give equal attention to the development of the mind and the body as we can often be guilty of focusing on what we ‘see’. For example, we may focus on a dancer’s placement, turnout, elevation, lines and expression rather than the many intangible processes responsible for producing what is seen. Consider the following analogy: regardless of the quality of the hardware of your